Regional

WHO chief urges COVID-19 vaccine makers to advance doses for COVAX

GENEVA (Reuters) -The head of the World Health Organization called on COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers to make shots available to the COVAX vaccine-sharing facility earlier than planned due to a supply shortfall left by Indian export...

Second victim of WW2 shell explosion dies in Solomon Islands

Another person who was injured in an explosion of a World War II shell in Solomon Islands last week has died. The National Referral Hospital confirmed to local media that Charley Noda died on Saturday night in the capital. Noda was one of four people injured in the incident eight days ago. They were part...

Vaccination centre ponders cutting days to ease nurses’ workload

An Auckland vaccination centre may have to cut the number of days it operates unless it gets more vaccinators. Each nurse at the Ōtara site is delivering about 100 injections a day at the centre which runs seven days a week. Those in charge said they urgently need more vaccinators to prevent nurses getting exhausted and to keep...

17th May

Cook Islands operators seeing light at end of 15-month tunnel

Cook Islands tourism operators and businesses say they are primed for a return of Kiwi visitors after this week’s bubble opening and expect Air New Zealand to respond to any increases to travel demand. After over a year, New Zealanders are finally able to travel to the Cook Islands without having to quarantine. The first flight to...

Former Vanuatu PM Salwai loses appeal against perjury sentence

An appeal by Vanuatu’s former prime minister Charlot Salwai against his perjury sentence has been dismissed. The Appeal Court told him instead that his suspended two-year sentence was lenient. Salwai was found guilty last December after being accused of misinforming the country in regard to the appointment of parliamentary secretaries in 2016. The case followed...

Extra seat thrown out, FAST wins Samoa election

The Supreme Court in Samoa has thrown out the electoral office’s decision to appoint an extra woman member of parliament. It means the decision breaks a month-long deadlock from the April election, handing the newcomer FAST party a majority. The electoral office last month added the extra seat purportedly to meet a provision in the...

Samoa court dismisses call for second election

Samoa’s Supreme Court has thrown out the Head of State’s decision to call a second election, clearing the path for the newcomer FAST party to form a government. Announcing the second election earlier this month, Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II told Samoans it was the best way to break the political deadlock that emerged after last...

15th May

New Zealand PM says to fight hate, study social media algorithms

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Saturday that world leaders and tech firms looking to stamp out violent extremism online would need to focus efforts on understanding social media algorithms that drive content. Ardern was speaking at a virtual summit to mark the second anniversary of the global initiative to end online hate,...

Mervyn vies for CYC chairperson role

Broderick Mervyn says young Pacific leaders are not getting the recognition they deserve. The Ignite4Change founder says this was why he was pleased to be announced as one of two Fijian candidates that would be vying for the role of chairperson of the Commonwealth Youth Council. “The position of chairperson to the Pacific region comes...

Singapore coronavirus cases could burst hopes for Hong Kong travel bubble

HONG KONG (Reuters) – A travel bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore set to open on May 26 has a “high chance” of being postponed, a Hong Kong official said on Friday, which would be the second time the plan to allow visits between the cities has been called off. The bubble between two of...

14th May

Oil drops 3% on India’s COVID-19 crisis, U.S. pipeline restart

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Oil prices fell about 3% on Thursday as India’s coronavirus crisis deepened and a key U.S. fuel pipeline resumed operations, halting a rally that had lifted crude to an eight-week high after forecasts for a rebound in global demand later in the year. Brent crude ended the session down $2.27, or...

UK wants global deal to stop financing coal projects

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain wants to broker a global agreement to stop the cross-border financing of coal projects when it hosts a major climate conference in November, a senior government minister said on Friday. Alok Sharma, the minister in charge of preparations for the United Nations COP26 summit in Glasgow, said significant action was needed...

COVID-19: Health Ministry investigates potential for further exposure at Fiji CDC

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services has, since yesterday, been investigating the potential for further exposure of COVID-19 in the Fiji Centre for Disease Control (CDC). Permanent secretary Dr James Fong said their medical and laboratory staff had not registered positive test results at this time. However, he added they were in the process...

New TV series showcases ancient Pacific tales in the modern day

A new Pacific-themed drama and horror television series has been created for New Zealand. It is the country’s first show to be written, directed, produced and crewed entirely by people of the Moana. The series, Teine Sā – The Ancient Ones, has taken a modern-day twist on ancient myths and legends, and the episodes are delivered...

NZ rolls out more Covid-19 support for the Pacific

Covid-19 vaccines are poised to be rolled out in the Cook Islands from next Wednesday, and the New Zealand government has announced more vaccines and $120 million in additional support for Pacific countries. New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta said the rollout in the Cook Islands would begin on 19 May. It was expected...

New Royal Mail stamps feature different looks of Prince Philip

(Reuters) – Britain’s Royal Mail invited orders on Thursday for four new stamps in memory of Prince Philip, the late husband of Queen Elizabeth, who died last month. The stamps, which will be available from June 24, feature https://shop.royalmail.com/special-stamp-issues/duke-of-edinburgh/in-memoriam-hrh-the-duke-of-edinburgh-miniature-sheet black and white photographs of the royal, officially known as the Duke of Edinburgh, over the...

Fiji’s present salt intake twice more than WHO recommendation – Study

The current average daily salt intake in Fiji is 11.7 grams, which is more than twice the World Health Organisation recommended level of five grams a day. This, according to a collaborative research project by the Fiji National University that states a minimal government investment in reducing salt intake could prevent 234 heart attacks and...

Australia seeks deal with Moderna for domestic production of mRNA vaccines

CANBERRA (Reuters) – Australia is in talks with Moderna Inc to establish domestic manufacturing of messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) vaccines such as the company’s COVID-19 vaccine, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Thursday. Australia, which on Wednesday agreed to buy 25 million doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, has pledged to spend A$1.5 billion ($1.2 billion)...

Fiji joins partners at PALM 9 meeting

Fiji joined its regional and international partners at the ninth Pacific Island Leaders Meeting (PALM 9) Senior Officials Meeting on Tuesday. The meeting was convened by Japan in the buildup to the PALM 9 meeting scheduled for later this year. According to a Government statement, the mandate of the Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) is to...

Pacific youths to benefit from learning resources

Youths in the Pacific are benefitting from the valuable learning resources and toolkits to boost their capacity from the Professionalising Youth Work in the Pacific modules. Launched in October 2020 by the Commonwealth of Learning, Lakehead University, the University of the South Pacific and Ignite4Change, ‘Professionalising Youth Work in the Pacific’ – the Moodle platform has enabled users to...

Australia taps Moderna for 25 million COVID-19 shots in vaccination ramp up

(Reuters) -Australia on Wednesday tapped Moderna Inc for 25 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, as it tries to speed up vaccination in people under 50 after deciding against AstraZeneca, whose jab has been linked to rare blood clots. The country had last month doubled its order for Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine to 40 million shots, preferring it over...

13th May

Philippines flags ‘incursions’ by nearly 300 Chinese militia boats

MANILA (Reuters) – The Philippines on Wednesday reported what it said were incursions into its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) by 287 maritime militia vessels from China, in a further sign of cracks reappearing in a relationship after a period of rapprochement. “This incident along with continued illegal incursions of foreign vessels sighted near Philippine-held islands...

COVID-19: Fiji CDC sequestered; lab testing temporarily halted

The Fiji Centre for Disease Control (CDC) has been sequestered with staff onsite or placed in quarantine facilities and lab testing temporarily halted. This after three administration staff members tested positive for COVID-19 that were announced tonight. Ministry of Health permanent secretary Dr James Fong said they knew there was limited contact between administration staff...

COVID-19: Fiji records second death from present outbreak; four new cases include Fiji CDC staff

Fiji has recorded its second death from this outbreak of COVID-19 while reporting four more new positive cases, three of whom are administration staff of the Fiji Centre for Disease Control (CDC). The deceased is a woman from the recent Makoi cluster who was entered into intensive care last night after her condition rapidly deteriorated....

Legal challenge against second Samoan election to be heard Friday

The chief justice in Samoa has rejected an attempt to delay a challenge to the legality of a second election. The challenge will be heard on Friday with a decision due on Monday. Also to be decided Monday is FAST’s challenge to the extra woman’s seat which created the current deadlock. And six of 28...

COVID-19: Early relief assistance payment for members

The teams at the Fiji National Provident Fund are clearing out pending COVID-19 applications this week and are processing payment for applications that have been approved. FNPF acting chief executive officer Viliame Vodonaivalu said this was specifically for members applying for the lockdown relief, voluntary members relief and phase 4 round 2. “This includes the...

Nadi’s Aquarius On The Beach hotel win Travellers’ Choice award

Despite the challenging past two years for the tourism industry in Fiji, a Nadi-based hotel has been recognised as a 2021 Travellers’ Choice award winner for Nadi hotels. This award marks the third win for Aquarius On The Beach, situated at Wailoaloa Beach, over its 10-year history. According to TripAdvisor, this award celebrates businesses that...

Samoan prime minister claims to be ‘appointed by God’

Samoa’s caretaker prime minister has reportedly told local media he was “appointed by God” to lead the country, and the judiciary has no authority over his appointment. Tuila’epa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi’s comments came after protests were directed against him in front of the Supreme Court. He told the Samoa Observer “I am appointed by God” so protests were futile in...

Ohio governor offers chance at $1 million prize to get vaccinated

(Reuters) – As U.S. political leaders grow increasingly desperate to persuade Americans to get the coronavirus vaccine, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine on Wednesday topped offers of baseball tickets and beer with a $1 million prize drawing. DeWine, a Republican, said five Ohio residents would win the money in once-a-week drawings for adults who have received...

NZ rolls out more Covid-19 support for Pacific

Covid-19 vaccines are poised to be rolled out in the Cook Islands from next Wednesday, and the New Zealand government has announced more vaccines and $120 million in additional support for Pacific countries. New Zealand Foreign Affairs minister Nanaia Mahuta said the rollout in the Cook Islands would begin on 19 May. It was expected...

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